Sunday, January 25, 2015

Selah



Well .. it has been a long while ... a long while. But I am back ... with a purpose ... practicing being still. I have joined Kim Klassen's Be Still 52 class. It was my gift to myself this year.

Quiet with a purpose ... creating within stillness ... Selah.

This is my image for week 1.

Sela


It is one that speaks of my place of rest ... my provider of peace .. and patience. My piano is a place of refuge for me. A place to breath ... to create ... to feel. Upon its keys my frustrations fade ... the business of my day falls away .. and I simply just am. It provides the backdrop for my first image. The rocks are actually tiny pebbles from a beach in Italy. They are so very smooth ... polished by the never ending tumbling of the seas pounding embrace. They feel differently than any stone I have ever touched here. They bring me to the beach again when I let them fall into my palm. I built an Ebenezer with them tonight. It took a while ... they are small ... they are roundish ... they are slippery. That is where the patience comes in. Life is like that ... a balancing act ... sometimes it takes more than one attempt to make things balanced ... it takes effort ... it takes time ... it takes dedication ... and determination. This little stack of pebbles reminds me that my God is faithful ... He is also my rest ... my soft landing spot ... my peace. He can be found best in the quiet ... in the Selah ... in the breathing of stillness. I am so very excited about what I am to learn in this journey of Being Still.


-Lisa




Sunday, August 12, 2012

I've Been Redeemed

Hello, it's been awhile, 6 months to be exact.  Strange how times fly.  Strange how after so long a song on the radio brings me back to this place.  The place of writing and sharing ... of vulnerability and transparency.  But, here I am. 

My life has been so full lately.  I have found myself put upon a new path ... and with that path a new journey with new responsibilities.  I have had to revisit a time of my life that was very abusive, and see it from God's point of view.  He is revealing truths about that time that are some times startling ... other times freeing ... and still other times challenging.  One thing that He has reveled to me in walking forward from this time in my life is that I am prone to abuse myself emotionally in the form of negative self-talk ... which has led to me pondering just why I do it.  Which leads me to today .. and the song ... I've Been Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave. 

(Here are the words .. in case you have not heard it .. and then I will share what God showed me.)

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I have heard this song so many times ... but today God sang it to me and revealed something to me ... the person singing is redeemed ... and yet carries "heavy chains" and wears the "Stains" of one who is not.  How many of us are like that?  I would venture to guess many of us.  You see, all of the negative words that I speak to myself continually add to the links in the chains that bind me ... stain the way I feel about myself.   And then there was the following line: All my life I have been called unworthy Named by the voice of my shame and regret ... and it hit me ...  I "one redeemed" allow myself to be deceived and named by a voice other than that of my Father.  A voice the has filled me with untruths that have undermined my self-esteem and, even worse, have muffled the voice of the One by whom I am Redeemed.

I call myself unworthy ... the truth is I am priceless.
I call myself ugly ... the truth is I am perfectly and wonderfully made.
I call myself unfaithful ... the truth is I am full of faith
I call myself wounded ... the truth is I am healed
I call myself misunderstood ... the truth is I am understood to the innermost parts by El Roi 

The list goes on and on.

The truth is that Satan feeds me twisted truths .. truths that can be proved when viewed through the lens of this world ... and I ... over time ... buy into them and the mirror of the world empowering these words to shape me and form me.  The most amazing part of this is that eventually I come to believe the words and speak them to myself over and over again. 

Notice with me a simple concept in the chorus of this song ...

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be

Notice with me a simple truth in the chorus of this song ... the person talking declares that they will shake off the heavy chains ... wipe off every stain ... how many times do we loose sight of the fact that we, as believers, are redeemed?  How often do we pick up heavy chains that we do not need to carry .. by choice ... by deception ... and walk a road that is not made for us?  How often do we forget that we are redeemed?


I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed 


Lisa

Thursday, February 2, 2012

When Words are Not Needed


I took this today ... out towards the edge of town.  It was a glorious end to a day that spilled out the blessings of hearing God's voice and following it.  Today I chose kindness.  Today the rewards of that were incredible.  May you find beauty that all but stops your heart from beating in this world, and when you do may you take the time to just stop at the crossroads and appreciate each and every detail of it.

Lisa

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keeping it Real - Even When it Means Looking in the Mirror

Sometimes we seem to miss signs that the Lord is trying to get our attention ... trying to send us a message ... trying to guide us towards something.  They catch our eye for a moment, but then are dismissed as we rush ahead on our own path.  Today when I was driving home, the words on a sign jumped into my vision and read themselves into my thoughts as I was driving past them at 45 miles an hour.  It struck me.  It resonated with me.  It drew me back to it, and in response I had to park and walk back to it and take this picture.



One's first thought at meaning might be ... "Your" life is fragile - handle it with prayer.  Most days, I would have read it that way, but today I read it differently. For right before I was embraced by these words, I was deep in thought about how short I have been on patience lately.  I have so much on my plate and never seem to get in front of the 8 ball ... to quote a friend who has been feeling the same way.  Expectations of me as a teacher these days are so high.  I work long hours and pour my heart into trying to make sure that I have done everything I can to ensure that "No Child is Left Behind."  There is so much pressure on us to achieve, achieve, achieve.  We are reminded over and over that within the next few years 100% of our kids must pass the AIMS ... and that in two years  all 3rd graders must score higher than FFB on the AIMS or they will be retained.  We are asked to fill minutes so full that the true weight of them would not fit on a dozen clocks.  And ... somewhere in all that, I have become stressed to the point that I have lost my sense of humor and find myself smiling a little less often.  I forget that I want my classroom to be a fun place ... a place where we laugh and are captivated my learning ... instead of a place where we "have to learn."  The foremost takes energy and planning ... it does not happen by chance. It is the product of the magical, creative side of teachers who can make the mundane nothing short of amazing through careful planning and is birthed bu the love of doing just that ... making learning magical.  I am that type of teacher ... but it is hard to remember that on days when I feel smothered by the pressures of the outside forces that be.  Anyway, today God was talking about that with me.  Reminding me that when my patience runs short, His runs in abundance and is there for me to drink of - if only I would ask.  That He has equipped me for this work ... woven within me the creativity to weave for these children learning in ways that ignite their innate desire to learn and create as well ... and that He is there to remind me of that when I loose sight of it ... if only I would ask.  That he breathed the passion for this career for a reason ... that He uses me to touch the deepest parts of some of these kids ... that I live on in them years after they have walked through the hallways of my school for the last time ... that he has chosen me to be a part of this ... that He can revive that passion tenfold when it begins to dim ... if I ask.  AND THEN .. OUT OF THE BLUE ... "Life is Fragile .. Handle with Care." 

"Life is Fragile ... Handle with care." for me today was God reminding me that the children that I call my students are fragile ... and when I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and uncreative ... when I feel like I am failing and can't seem to get a second wind ... I need to handle it with prayer.   I need to remain steadfast in prayer and relinquish it all to Him ... that He might do His work through me ... and empower me to do the job that I know He has called me to.  The lives I touch every day are fragile ... I need to handle the journey with prayer.

Then I get home and decide to go on Facebook and low and behold the following picture is the first thing on my wall.  (Courtesy of Meg Bitton Photography who is amazing if you are in here area!)


And this was the caption:
Friends.....so much more is accomplished with kindness than anger. I know that things make us angry and emotional, but remember...people make mistakes and its better to love than hate.


And ... although I am not hating people ... nor am I begrudging people of their mistakes  or trying to be unkind ... but God had a translation in this for me as well ...


Being kind is a choice it is something that needs to be done intentionally.

We have to filter everything we do through the filters of kindness and love.  We have to make sure that they are the motives behind each decision that we make ... no matter how mundane.  Take for example the following paper that I found on Pinterest.



Some of the statements in the first column can make kids feel little ... while the statements int he second column get the same message across without causing damage.  It is simply a choice of the words said ... it is  ... Being kind ... intentionally.

As you can see God was pouring signs down upon me today from all angels and venues ... and today I did not miss them.  I know that what He showed me today does not only apply to my school kids ... it applies to each and every person that is in my life. 

It is 
a way of doing business 
... a way 
of doing 
life.